Greetings, Glancers! We’re into the 90s with my Get Rekt series, the series which sees me try to score my favourite films free from bias. Boiling Point is Takeshi Kitano’s second film, one which finds a neat level between his usual black humour and sudden violence. It presents a more grey area portrayal of character and morality than Violent Cop did, and this ambiguity would continue throughout his career.
Sales: 3: A modest success in Japan, that is tempered by limited success elsewhere. Like most of Kitano’s early movies, it has done well on DVD in other territories.
Chart: 3: Same as above.
Critical Consensus: 4: Well received at the time and highly regarded since. It’s a shame so few have seen it.
Director: 4. Kitano is firing on all cylinders, but his slow shots and silences may be off-putting for many. It’s only his second film and he would grow in nuance.
Performances: 3. Everyone is good but it’s not the sort of film which calls for Award Winning performances. Kitano is Kitano, though he only shows up halfway through, and the other two main actors tow the line between comedy, bewilderment, and shock.
Characters: 3. It’s Kitano being Kitano in short bursts, and two friends. None of them are going to going down in the record books, but they serve the story.
Cinematography: 4. I could go 3 here, but 4 seems right given the technology and budget.
Writing: 3. It’s funny, yet the story is, at least on the surface, one of simple revenge. I could see fans going with a 4 here thanks to the ending, thanks to it also being some sort of coming of age story, and thanks to its general weirdness.
Wardrobe: 3. Early 90s Japan is this weird hybrid of early 80s US and 60s France, for some reason. Nothing exciting here, though now worth it as a historic curio – average 3.
Editing: 3: Kitano has his style – long shots and silence punctuated by sudden cuts to violence. Those are here but would be honed once he took over the editing role in later films.
Make up and Hair: 2. Nothing to mention. A 2 or a 3 here is the ceiling.
Effects: 3. Nothing out of the ordinary again – all practical, all works.
Art and Set: 3: You’re going to get a lot of averages with this movie from me. Some nice exterior work but the sets and locations are serviceable.
Sound And Music: 3. Well, there isn’t really any music to speak of. It’s a very silent movie, but sound has an impact.
Cultural Significance: 3. I could go 4 here because it was an even bigger stepping stone for Kitano than Violent Cop and gained him a taste of worldwide attention. But that’s tempered by not being his first movie and by the fact that most significance was centred in Japan rather than any wider significance.
Accomplishment: 4. I’m happy to go 4 with this one because it’s a step up in competence from Violent Cop and for a stand up comedian to be breaking out with such confidence is impressive.
Stunts: 3. Nothing too outlandish and most of the violence and action is contained to 1 on 1 close quarters scenes.
Originality: 3. I could see anything from a 2 to a 4 here. I’m tempted to go a 4 due to the subversions and absurdity Kitano brings to the gangster standards, creating an intriguing piece. Others may feel it’s a simple revenge film with out of place comedy, but for me the violence is perfectly juxtaposed and more cynical than other films.
Miscellaneous: 3. Not much to add.
Personal: 5. I love it, along with most of Kitano’s films. It’s disturbing, gets close to a Lynchian hypnotic tone, and it’s both ambiguous and in your face. The violence isn’t fetishized and yet is stylish and you’ll laugh at some of the slapstick and silly moments before being brought back to earth with a gut punch.
Total Score: 65/100
A fairly average score given my own personal rating, but not surprising given that it’s not a widely known, super successful, or hugely influential film. Let us know your thoughts on Boiling Point in the comments!